22 Pieces of Advice Every Ambitious Person Needs to Hear

Lior Frenkel
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September 27, 2018

We asked the smartest people we know for their advice on accelerating your career, personal growth and how to do your best work. Here’s what they said…

  1. Show up every single morning like you're meant to be there. You got the job for a reason, you know.
  2. Never tell your boss you can't do something. You can, I promise. Say you'll figure it out and then do so. A can-do attitude will have a big impact on the trajectory of your career.
  3. Having clothes you feel confident in is important. If you feel better you'll work better. Invest in some good basics. You'll easily earn the money back further down the line.
  4. One word: sleep. There's nothing successful about sleep deprivation. Feeling well-rested and ready for work is real #goals.
  5. Make work BFFs, but don't get too involved with the office drama du jour. The occasional rant with a trusted co-worker is fair game. But cliques and bitching? Not so much.
  6. Keep a record of all of your accomplishments and achievements from day one on a new job. You'll be glad you did.
  7. Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders is a book everyone, including you, should read when building their career.
  8. Everyone you work with - good or bad - is indirectly mentoring you, all the time. There is so much to be learned from observing the capable and the incompetent.
  9. Stop apologising for everything. A delayed response to an email or not being able to work late again doesn't warrant an apology.
  10. But do take ownership when you truly mess up - people will only respect you more for it.
  11. You're doing so much better than you think.
  12. When you're starting out, switching employers every year or so is a good thing. Go get the salary you deserve, stat.
  13. Having £££ in a savings account is the difference between freedom and having to stay in a job you hate because of financial constraints. It's that simple.
  14. Never get complacent. Even if you love your job, keep your LinkedIn updated and your mind open to other opportunities, always.
  15. The single best question you can ask when being interviewed is: 'What is your biggest problem and how can I solve it?' Thank me later. And once you get the job? Keep asking it.
  16. Mistakes are healthy. If you're making mistakes, you're learning quicker. Don't be afraid of them. Just try not to make the same one twice.
  17. The most interesting, exciting careers never go exactly to plan. Embrace that.
  18. Learning more = earning more.
  19. We all have bad days. But no job is worth bad weeks that turn into months.
  20. Times are changing. You don't get ahead just by doing your job well, you progress by making things happen that are beyond your job description.
  21. No matter how much you achieve, never forget what it felt like to be the new intern on his or her first day.
  22. Praising someone else doesn't steal your shine. It only makes you shine brighter.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?
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I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.

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"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

Could you get to the top 1% of your industry?

Empower your team to go and shine.